Hospital Participates in National End-of-Life Collaborative

doc and patientA busy but committed team of multi-disciplinary professionals is helping ensure that end-of-life wishes of Winter Park Memorial Hospital (WPMH) patients are stewarded and respected.  Supported by a $14,850 grant made by the Winter Park Health Foundation (WPHF), the hospital has been an active participant in Conversation Ready, an intense nine-month learning collaborative led by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI).  WPMH is one of only twenty-three healthcare organizations in the country that is engaging in this program.

The team, whose task is to test and implement any changes necessary to be sure patients’ wishes are known and acted upon, is starting small by focusing on one WPMH  patient unit. The plan is to perfect implementation in this small environment before introducing changes hospital-wide.

Through weekly team meetings, it became apparent additional clarity was needed to understand the complex legal environment surrounding the end-of-life issue.  With support from hospital administration, the Department of Healthcare and Spirituality responded by hosting an educational session for physicians and clinicians earlier this month. Guest speaker Jack Holt, III, an Orlando attorney, discussed legal scenarios and Florida statues, and answered questions posed by participants.

As part of the learning collaborative, several team members traveled to IHI in Boston to share progress, challenges and insights with representatives from the other 22 healthcare organizations. Nearly all teams said litigation was an issue of concern and one they hoped to better understand as their efforts continue.

Diana Silvey, WPHF Program Director, regularly participates in the team as the patient/family representative.  Other members include physicians, case managers, the geriatric clinical nurse specialist, a patient safety officer, a representative from nursing leadership, a chaplain, clinical social workers, an information technology professional and the Director of Program Management and Strategic Operations.

“I have been so impressed with the dedication of this team,” said Ms. Silvey. “There is no question that participation in this program requires a significant investment of their time and yet the passion with which they are pursuing the task is truly admirable. As I sit around the table with these professionals, it is clear to me this work will truly make a difference in the lives of the patients for whom they care at the end of life.”

Click here for more information about Conversation Ready.